Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Govt announces 'binding plan' to avert Sicilian default

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, July 24 - The central government said on
Tuesday that a meeting between Premier Mario Monti and Sicilian
governor Raffaele Lombardo had produced a "binding" plan to
reorganise the regional government's organization and finances.
The announcement came after Monti wrote to Lombardo earlier
this month asking him to confirm his decision to quit as
governor to help end Sicily's political gridlock, stressed that
the region risked defaulting on its debts.
Lombardo, who is facing charges of colluding with the
mafia, said he would step down by July 31 earlier on Tuesday.
Monti told Lombardo that Sicily must undertake a major
spending review like the one the central government did to
create its plan to save 26 billion euros over the next three
years.
A government statement on a meeting between the two men
said Monti had welcomed the regional government's recent
commitment to reduce the number of regional staff, managers and
companies, and the initial results achieved as part of its plan
to end the regional health deficit.
"Nevertheless, the premier stressed the need, at the same
time, to start a process of tough discussions at the technical
level to analyse all the components of the regional budget to
guarantee a framework of maximum openness and transparency of
the data," said the statement.
"On this basis, a programme of structural reforms and
reorganisation of the regional public administration will be
prepared that will be binding in its objectives and timeframes
and constantly monitored by the technical bodies of the national
government".
According to the Italian Audit Court, the region had debts
of 21 billion euros in 2011, although Lombardo disputes these
figures.
The Italian media have run a series of stories reporting
alleged waste in the running of the region.
Articles have pointed out, for example, that the Sicilian
regional government employs around 20,000 people, while
Lombardy, the region around Milan's financial capital Milan,
employs a quarter of that number.
These calculations do not include Sicily's 26,000 forest
guards. Lombardy has around 460 forest guards.
Lombardo, however, has said the region's finances are
fundamentally sound and argues that the default alarm has been
drummed up by the media.
Prosecutors in April presented a request to try Lombardo
and his brother Angelo, an MP for Lombardo's Movimento per
l'Autonomia (MpA) party, for allegedly swapping votes for favors
with Vincenzo Aiello, a prominent member of the powerful
Catania-based Santapaola clan.
Lombardo has denied the accusations.

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